Quality of Teacher Educators in Private and Government
aided Teacher Education Institutions
Gaurav Pant, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University College of Physical Education, Pune (Maharashtra)
Our country faces a shortage of qualified teachers, which could break the balanced equation of demand and supply of teachers. The situation of teachers’ requirement is so grave so that many educational institutions filled up the vacant teaching-posts with the educated personnel, who do not have professional qualifications for teaching through teacher education system. This is a great flaw in Indian system of Education. The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), an apex body of Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India, therefore, approved different ODL (Open and Distance Learning) courses for those teachers, who are non-trained and already appointed in various educational institutions; although there are several limitations of such ODL courses, this helps these non-trained teacher to get an opportunity to receive proper training in teacher education. These teachers are deputed slot-wise to different teacher education institutions for receiving training in teacher education. This helps to improve the quality of teachers to some extent.
The question arises – what should be the essential qualification of a teacher educator? Indian Universities accepted various under graduate and post graduate programmes as per directives and guidelines of the NCTE, Govt. of India. Indian Universities accepted Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Physical Education (M.P.Ed.), other Masters’ programmes etc., as a pre-requisite for becoming a Teacher Educator (TE) in teacher education institutions in India. Nowadays, clearing UGC-NET (National Eligibility Test) is also becoming mandatory requirement for appointing a teacher educator.
Nowadays, many questions are revolving in the minds of academicians regarding the duration of under graduate and postgraduate courses of teacher education.
While verifying the duration of teacher training courses, it was observed that the duration of undergraduate courses (B.Ed. and B.P.Ed.) was for 1 yr, which was found consistent throughout our country. Amazingly, during this time, many Indian universities conducted the post graduate courses (M.Ed., M.P.Ed. etc.) for 1 year duration and some others considered 2 years duration as essential qualification for teacher educators. Such variability in duration of courses has been modified and uniformity has been brought throughout the country after the NCTE’s intervention with the amendments in its regulation. Now, all the post graduate courses of teacher education have become 2-yr duration.
Duration and nomenclature of teacher education programmes conducted in India has now created a great confusion among the academicians and teacher educators. Earlier, the programmes like B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education), B.P.Ed. (Bachelor of Physical Education) etc. were conducted for a period of 1 year duration. Presently, as per regulation 2014 the NCTE has amended all the B.Ed. and B.P.Ed. courses from 1 yr to 2 years duration so that many of the teacher educators and teacher education institutions are not happy. Because, the curricular-content suggested by in this regulation has created ambiguity for such courses regarding non-equivalent distribution of semester-wise curricular subjects; this, in turn, disturbs the teaching loads on teacher educators. I believe, the teacher educators may agree with this view. The apex body of teacher education in recent years, therefore, given more importance to 4 yrs integrated courses in education and physical education (i.e., 3 yrs + 1 yr.). In fact, promotion of 4 yrs integrated courses, in the long run, will replace B.Ed. and B.P.Ed. courses of 2 yrs duration and gradually these 2 years courses will be closed down.
In addition, launching of new courses ‘BPES’ (3 yrs Bachelor of Physical Education & Sports, where eligibility is 12th standard) and ‘MPES’ (2 yrs Master of Physical Education & Sports) by the UGC (University Grants Commission, New Delhi) for a total 5 yrs duration has created a dilemma in contradicting with the duration of B.P.Ed. (4 yrs integrated, where eligibility is 12th standard) and M.P.Ed. (2 yrs) courses for a total 6 yrs duration as per NCTE’s 2014 regulation. The question, therefore, arises –
· Are these courses “BPES” (3 yrs) and “MPES” (2yrs) of UGC referring to have equivalency with NCTE’s recommended courses “B.P.Ed.” (4 yrs) and “M.P.Ed.”(2 yrs) to get similar / same job opportunities?
· After completion of MPES course – are the passed out students eligible to sit for UGC-NET examination like the passed out students of M.P.Ed. course to become eligible for the post of Assistant Professors in the institutions of higher learning including in Teacher Education Institutions?
· If the job opportunities remain same / similar –
(a) Why a student spends long 6 yrs duration i.e., 4 yrs for integrated B.P.Ed. + 2 yrs for M.P.Ed. to complete B.P.Ed. and M.P.Ed., while only 5 yrs duration i.e., 3 yrs for BPES + 2 yrs for MPES to complete BPES and MPES?
(b) Why a student spends long 7 yrs duration i.e., 3 yrs for graduation + 2 yrs for B.P.Ed. + 2 yrs for M.P.Ed. to complete B.P.Ed. and M.P.Ed. courses?
The fact, mentioned above, revealed that there exists a great variation especially on the duration and nomenclature of the courses in the subject of Physical Education; this indicates that both the UGC’s notification and the NCTE’s regulation are contradicting each other.
In addition, in the case of teacher training programmes in the subject ‘Education’ it is evident that after passing 12th standard, the students are eligible to take admission in the integrated B.A./B.Sc.-B.Ed. course and a student needs to spend 4 yrs and, further, 2 yrs for post graduate M.Ed. course; thus a total of 6-yrs a student needs to spend. In contrast, after 12th standard, the students attending 3 yrs of graduate course, 2 yrs of B.Ed. course and 2 yrs of M.Ed. course; thus a student needs to spend a total 7 yrs. In fact, such variation in duration of the teacher education courses needs a rethinking through high level discussions among the academicians in the country.
Now, the question arises – what should be the quality of a teacher educator? Although we have discussed the eligibility for appointment of a teacher educator, but still the question on “quality of a teacher educator” remained unanswered.
In fact, quality teacher educators are those who have adequate subject knowledge and pedagogic training, experience expertize in the field of teacher development, sustainable ability of capacity-building among existing teacher trainees and also who possess a strategic competency framework that can help the teacher trainees to cope with the dynamism of our educational system. In this context, the quality teacher educators are able to search new thrust areas, such as acquisition of innovation and higher thinking skills that are intrinsically related to teacher development. Thus, preparation of the teachers at the pre-service level and their continued improvement at the in-service level are areas of key concern to become a quality teacher educator.
The quality teacher educators are equipped with intrinsic capabilities for enhancing the academic and professional needs of trainee teachers. Teacher educators are efficient for curriculum development and evaluation. Historical development on education in India reveals the impact of Kothari Commission (1964-66) that suggested professional preparation can enhance the quality of an effective teacher educator. The NCTE in 1978 through its first curriculum framework on M.Ed. curriculum and Chattopadhyaya Committee during 1983-85 emphasized that a quality teacher educator can play relevant role so as to enable trainee teachers with efficient knowledge in general and professional education under the purview of teacher education. Yashpal Committee in 1985 recommended that the content of the program should be restructured to ensure its relevance to the changing needs of school education and here the teacher educator needs to update their knowledge about the changing needs so that the trainee teachers get sufficient training to acquire the ability for self-learning and independent thinking.
Further, in 1993, the National Policy of Education mandated ‘Program of Action’ (POA – the scheme launched in 1987) – a centrally sponsored Scheme for Restructuring and Reorganization of Teacher Education to create a sound institutional infrastructure for pre-service and in-service training of elementary and secondary school teachers. A quality teacher educator must be aware of such provision of academic resource support to elementary and secondary schools.
Through a NCF position paper in 2005, the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs). Opine that current teacher education practices are inadequate in preparing teachers and teacher educators. The NCTE, therefore, changed the entire curriculum of teacher education more comprehensively. The quality teacher educators must know about such changes and accordingly enhanced professional preparations in the process of preparing teachers.
Gradually, the norms and standard of NCTE have been changed in 2009, where PG programmes are suggested inclusion of practicum. This also refers that proper observations, instructions and their reflections are to be conducted by the teacher educators as a part of internship.
More recently, in 2012, the Justice Verma Committee proposed that a paradigm shift is perceived in India towards poor quality in pre-service teacher education due to lack of rigorous method of preparation with a robust teacher education syllabus. The report also states that teacher education is isolated from the university system, and as a result, the teacher education institutions making the teachers ill-equipped to teach the students. This suggests that the University regulation is to be re-activated in establishing, recognizing and reviewing of the teacher education institutions, whereas the role of NCTE needs to be strengthened for effective management of teacher education. The Commission also brings out insufficiency of the M.Ed. curriculum as a preparatory program for teacher educators. At this juncture, good teacher educators must contribute to enrich the teacher education in India.
While considering the eligibility and quality of teacher educators appointed in government and private teacher education institutions, there may not be any such difference. However, sometimes many of the private institutions compromise with low quality of teacher educators, in paying very low remuneration /salary that may bring down the quality in the preparation process of teacher trainees. This doesn’t mean that teacher educators with higher salary in Government aided institutions are contributing a good. The teachers in Govt. institutions feel that their services are secured with higher salary and such feelings on the part of teacher educators may deteriorate the quality of the products (trainee teachers). More consistently, the feeling of insecurity of the teacher educators working in private institutions may enhance the output and efficiency for survival. However, for quality improvement, the teacher educators of Govt. aided institutions get ample of opportunity and financial support to receive training and exposure to the outside world. This might have improved the outlook of the teacher educators working in Govt. teacher education institutions.
In conclusion, quality improvement by a teacher educator is the need of the day, but implementation of these qualities in the process of teaching learning in teacher education institutions is more important for preparing productive teacher trainees.